Europas schwache Lungen

Atemwegserkrankungen führen weltweit die Liste von Todesursachen an und nehmen derzeit noch zu. Nach Angaben der Weltgesundheitsorganisation waren von den im Jahre 1990 verzeichneten 50,5 Millionen Todesfällen 9,4 Millionen auf Atemwegserkrankungen zurückzuführen. Im Jahre 2020 werden von 68 Millionen Todesfällen voraussichtlich 11,9 Millionen auf chronisch-obstruktive Lungenkrankheiten (COPD), Lungenentzündungen, Lungenkrebs oder Lungentuberkulose (TB) zurückzuführen sein.

Europa schneidet im Vergleich zum Rest der Welt etwas besser ab. Atemwegserkrankungen liegen (nach Herz- und Gefäßkrankheiten) an zweiter Stelle, was Sterblichkeit, Häufigkeit, Verbreitung und Kosten betrifft. In manchen Ländern wie etwa Großbritannien sind sie bereits die häufigste Todesursache.

Das im Jahre 2003 von der Europäischen Gesellschaft für Atemwegserkrankungen (European Respiratory Society, ERS) und der Europäischen Stiftung für Lungengesundheit (European Lung Foundation, ELF) veröffentlichte European White Book on Lung Disease (Europäisches Weißbuch zu Lungenkrankheiten) lieferte erstmals eine Sammlung epidemiologischer Daten für die gesamte Bandbreite von Lungenerkrankungen in Europa, ebenso wie eine detaillierte Übersicht über die Entwicklung von Lungenkrankheiten, einschließlich genauer Erkrankungsziffern, Sterblichkeitsraten und Kosten.

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